I discovered Belle and Sebastian later in college than most. It’s not that I didn’t get its music; it’s just that I already listened to many other twee bands (and the bands they influenced). Don’t get me wrong, I liked If You’re Feeling Sinister, but I just didn’t see what the big deal was. Then I started paying attention to the lyrics…which you don’t necessarily do if you’re into twee or indie pop.
Does it diminish a band’s worth to consider the context in which it creates music? Does it put a damper on that moment you discover a new band to consider the other bands in its scene? Does it make a band seem less creative when you find out what’s in the lead singer’s album collection?
I think it’s always important to consider context when analyzing art, especially music (because that’s what I know best). It’s especially important with someone like Belle and Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch, who is obviously a referential writer. This is why I devote Episode #108 to the musical ancestry of Bell and Sebastian. Have I exhaustively discussed every band that influenced Murdoch? Or course not, but they are all very influential. (And, if you read the band’s biography, Belle and Sebastian: Just another Modern Rock Story, you’ll find many pages devoted to Murdoch’s adoration of these bands.) This show is a starting point for many evenings getting caught in internet wormholes, discovering obscure Britpop bands.
At any rate, in the era of publicly-accessible Spotify playlists, I’m unsure that I need to merely make podcasts amounting to little more than shuffled playlists and commentary. I hope you find focused shows like this helpful. I still bristle at the idea of themed shows; I just want to help everyone grasp the context in which my favorite music is created. Enjoy.
- “Do You Remember Walter?” – The Kinks (The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society / Reprise / 1968)
- “One of These Things First” – Nick Drake (Bryter Layter / Island / 1970)
- “Caroline Goodbye” – Colin Blunstone (One Year / Epic / 1971)
- “Down but Not Yet Out” – Felt (Forever Breathes the Lonely Word / Creation / 1986)
- “I’m in Love with a Girl Who Doesn’t Know I Exist” – Another Sunny Day (Air Balloon Road / Sarah / 1990)
- “Another Sunny Day” – Belle and Sebastian (The Life Pursuit / Matador / 2006)
Radio Free Raytown – Episode #108 (10/5/12)